Audiences Give The Addams Family Two Snaps Up

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Apr 082018

Addams Family, The Musical opened at Amity this week and so far, audiences are loving it – at least from comments posted on Facebook and what I observed last night.

Just about everyone was talking about the most lovable character, “Uncle Fester” played by Sophomore Martin Gnidula.

“I can’t believe he’s just a sophomore,” one man said.

“That means he’ll be around for two more years,” someone responded.

“I think this is his first play,” said another as she flipped through the program book.

Lilli Querker, “Pugsley” also got some attention, not only for her voice and performance, but one young girl turned to her mom and said, “I KNEW he was a girl!”

Out in the lobby, a man said, “I can’t imagine what they look like without their stage makeup.”

I wanted to say, go to Orange Live, they did a feature with side by side photos of the lead actors. But I didn’t.

During the show, there were audible gasps when Emily Kilian, “Wednesday” sang. “Wow, she’s so good!”

Ben Kemp, “Lurch” got a lot of laughs with his low growls, moans – whatever you want to call them. He must have practiced endlessly, because, if you watched Orange Live’s meet the Addams Family video, you’ll notice that his speaking voice is not terribly low.

Harrison Paek “Gomez” and Ali Ashworth “Morticia” received equal raves for their performances. Paek being compared to Raul Julia and Ashworth to Angelica Houston.

And Maren Westgard’s “Grammama” was so weird and much more popular with this audience than the television character ever was with all of us baby boomers back in the day.

The conversations were all over the place as we exited the theater.

“So, the boyfriend was the director’s son?”

“Ya, he was the little kid in Tarzan, too, remember?”

Even the lighting left people in awe. “Did the students do the lighting too?”

“Some older guy does it every year and the kids work with him I think.”

“Well, it was amazing. They did a great job.”

“They always do. It’s like Broadway.”

Orange Live will have MORE on this play and audience reaction next week. 


Becoming An Addams — The Kennedys Always Have A Vision

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Apr 062018

When I first met the cast of the Amity Spring Musical “The Addams Family” I was charmed by the primary characters sunny personalities, but to be honest I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how they would make little Lilli Querker look like a believable chubby Pugsley Addams.


Move forward to the dress rehearsal. If I hadn’t met her ahead of time, I never would have known that Pugsley was the same petite little girl who portrayed Little Red Riding Hood in “Into The Woods” a couple of years ago. Why? Well, the magic of Andrea Kennedy’s makeup brushes, a well-fitted wig, a great costume team, oh, and of course, Querker’s acting ability.

If You Would Like To Meet the Addams Family and their Butler Lurch, Watch this Video  (Martin Gnidula is incorrectly identified as Morgan in the video)



You will absolutely fall in love with the sweet and quirky Uncle Fester. Martin Gnidula was willing to shave his head for the role but Kennedy told him they would work around it. His songs are just precious and don’t be surprised if you leave the theater singing “La la la la la la etc.”

He may have the most physical part of the entire cast always moving around, very high energy.

He’s the perfect combination of Jackie Coogan from the tv series and Christopher Lloyd from the movies. So good!





Type cast as yet another Gramma, Maren Westgard is just good at it, after all this is the third time she’s portrayed a grandmother in an Amity play.

In this role she is creepy and she’s kooky, mysterious and spooky.

Her hair is a bit out of control, but Grammama Addams is always there for her family.





Remember Ted Cassidy from the original Addams Family tv show? Well, Ben Kemp doesn’t — when he was cast as Lurch he’d never seen the iconic television series, so he was told to go home and do his homework — Watch old episodes of the Addams Family and pick up on some of the little things that made Lurch recognizable to the masses.

I guess he studied because, during the dress rehearsal, I heard him give a loud growl-moan.  Fun stuff.





The bubbly Emily Kilian can play just about anyone. In this musical, she is Wednesday Addams.

Unlike the quiet Lisa Loring from the original tv show, Kilian is more like the big screen Wednesday, played by Christina Ricci.





We’ve seen Harrison Paek in a few Amity plays and musicals.

He embraces the role of Gomez, the kind family man who only wants everyone to be happy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Paek brings a sense of fun that the late great John Astin and the late Raul Julia, did before him. He adds a funky little accent that may make you giggle – or swoon.





Funloving Ali Ashworth can turn the bubbly off in the snap-snap of two fingers.

Her expressionless Morticia is spot on. But under that serious shell, she has a heart of gold. she loves her family and wants only the best for everyone.



So there they are Amity’s Addams Family in and out of costume and makeup. Who would you walk by at an after party without recognizing them?

The makeup room is a flurry of organized chaos before the show, but Andrea Kennedy’s talented makeup artists get the job done, one character at a time. Great Job!

If you have tickets to the Addams Family, enjoy the show! If you were there on opening night, what did you think?